LA GRANGE, Ky. — The Kentucky Department of Corrections is allowing visitors again at all 14 prisons. 

What You Need To Know

  • This week in-person prison visits resume

  • Visits right now are limited to only two people at a time, appointment-based and scheduled in advance

  • Visitors have to show proof of their Coronavirus vaccinations

  • Families of inmates have waited more than a year

This week, families of inmates are able to meet in person through appointments and with proof of COVID-19 vaccination.

“471 days since I saw him last,” said Lottie Tanner, a wife of an inmate. “I did not sleep last night at all.”

She had an appointment Tuesday at the Kentucky State Reformatory.

“An hour bending over on the table was — my back's a little stiff, his back is a little stiff, but it was worth every minute of it because I got to finally see him and be in the same room with him,” Tanner said.

Tanner recapped her visit following her appointment at a coffee shop in downtown La Grange. She said she met her husband while wearing a mask and through a partition along with other families who also visited inmates.

Lottie Tanner shares her in-person visit experience after seeing her husband at the Kentucky State Reformatory in La Grange. (Spectrum News 1/Khyati Patel)

“I was having to lean down kind of like this on the tables so that I could hear him through the cut out because (of) the sound ← because there wasn't a lot of tables or a lot of people the sound was just bouncing off the concrete,” Tanner said.

She recalls the date of the last in-person visit prior to the start of the pandemic: March 8, 2020.

“I was able to, you know, cook him food in the microwave. It was, you know, normal visit, play cards, play Monopoly, we had no idea you know, it was casual. COVID[-19] with casual conversation, back then it was like ‘did you hear about this crazy thing going on’ but we never thought that it was gonna turn into what it turned into,” Tanner said.

In late May, Gov. Andy Beshear announced in-person visits would resume starting this week.

“You know, my husband's an inmate, I'm not usually one to commend the staff for their professionalism. They were incredibly professional today,” Tanner said currently limited to  two people at a time, appointment-based and scheduled in advance. Visitors have to show proof of their coronavirus vaccinations.

“I mean my heart's always happy when I leave him there, it's a little heavier today because I didn't get to touch him,” Tanner said.

The Kentucky Department of Corrections is limiting visits to anyone 18 and older. Meanwhile, virtual visits continue at all facilities.